The acronym DNS might not be one you hear everyday, but it’s one of the key technologies that makes the Internet easy to use. Since you use DNS every time you visit a website, knowing who your DNS provider is and what they do with your DNS information is an integral part of securing your privacy.
Today we’re going to take a look at DNS to help you understand what it is, and how TunnelBear DNS can help keep the things you do online, private.
How does DNS make the internet easier to navigate?
You may not know this, but there are actually two addresses you can use to get to any website. We typically use a text address, like wikipedia.org because it's simple to remember. But your computer only understands number based addresses, called IP addresses, like “126.96.36.199”.
You can think of an IP address like a phone number and DNS like the Contacts app on your phone. You can still call your friends by dialling their number, but your Contacts app makes it simple by storing the number and giving you a name to tap. When you visit TunnelBear, instead of remembering “188.8.131.52”, you use "tunnelbear.com" and your browser translates that into the IP address.
If my ISP provides my DNS, can they see the websites I’m visiting?
You bet! DNS is one of the features your ISP needs to provide to make the internet more accessible. Without it, you'd have to know every single IP address of the websites you want to visit. By letting your ISP handle your DNS traffic, it’s a cinch for them to log information about the sites you visit because you’re using their network and their DNS to browse.
Since your privacy is our top concern at TunnelBear, we’ve created our own DNS servers. Every time you connect to TunnelBear, your DNS requests are directed to TunnelBear DNS servers, so your ISP can no longer see what websites you’re visiting. And because we don’t keep any records of your DNS, you’re the only one that knows your browsing history.
Why does TunnelBear DNS provide better privacy?
Setting up DNS through TunnelBear is as simple as connecting the app. Once your VPN is online and tunneling, you’re setup to use TunnelBear DNS. Here’s a quick breakdown of how it works.
When you visit a website like tunnelbear.com, your request is encrypted from your computer to the VPN server
We check whether the IP address for the website you’re looking for exists in our server’s memory (cache)
If we don’t have a record of the website, we use an open source DNS server to get the website’s IP address from the root DNS servers on the Internet
Once we have the IP address, we complete your task by connecting you to the computer that hosts the website so you can download it.
If you’d like to confirm that TunnelBear DNS is working, you can perform a DNS leak test. Connect to TunnelBear and run the test. In the results, you should see 1 server listed, and your IP address should match your VPN IP address.
At TunnelBear, we’re constantly on the hunt for new ways to reduce the information that’s stored about you. Running our own DNS servers is one way we can make sure your DNS is never logged by TunnelBear or your ISP.
If you have any questions or would like to know more, you can always reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.